Wolfgang Grams
Wolfgang Grams was a member of the Red Army Faction
Red Army Faction
The radicalized were, like many in the New Left, influenced by:* Sociological developments, pressure within the educational system in and outside Europe and the U.S...

, a German far-left terrorist organisation.


Wolfgang Grams was born in Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. His parents, Werner and Ruth Grams, were expelled from the east. Werner Grams volunteered for service in the Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

. They had another son, Rainer.

During Grams' younger years, his family lived near the Wiesbaden Army Airfield
Wiesbaden Army Airfield
Wiesbaden Army Airfield or WAAF is located southeast of the city of Wiesbaden, Hessen, Germany. It was selected as the site for Headquarters, United States Air Forces in Europe on 28 September 1945, in large part due to its proximity to Frankfurt am Main, where the U.S. Seventh Army was...

, and he demonstrated against the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...


While living in a commune
Commune (intentional community)
A commune is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income. In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become...

, he was given the nickname Gaks. After the arrest of Andreas Baader
Andreas Baader
Andreas Bernd Baader was one of the first leaders of the German left-wing militant organization Red Army Faction, also commonly known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang.- Life :...

 and Gudrun Ensslin
Gudrun Ensslin
Gudrun Ensslin was a founder of the German militant group Red Army Faction . After becoming involved with co-founder Andreas Baader, Ensslin was influential in the politicization of Baader's voluntaristic anarchistic beliefs. Ensslin was perhaps the intellectual head of the RAF...

, he started visiting terrorists in jail. He found the conditions of solitary confinement inhumane.

Grams' name was found in a note book by an RAF terrorist who was killed during an arrest attempt. He was kept in custody for 153 days, but was given remuneration in 1980. He then met Birgit Hogefeld
Birgit Hogefeld
Birgit Hogefeld is a former member of the West German Red Army Faction .-Early life:Born in Wiesbaden, Hogefeld joined the RAF in the eighties long after its founding members Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Ulrike Meinhof were dead...

, and they began dating and moved in together.

On February 15, 1987, the Tagesschau
Tagesschau is a German national and international television news service produced by Norddeutscher Rundfunk on behalf of the German public-service television network ARD.The main edition of the programme is aired at 8 o'clock p.m. on Das Erste...

on ARD ran a bulletin for Grams and Hogefeld. He was described as 180 cm tall and with blue green eyes and a striking dark skin discoloration on his face. From 1984 on he lived underground. Only in the Autumn of 1990 did he come home to meet with his parents in Taunus
The Taunus is a low mountain range in Hesse, Germany that composes part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains. It is bounded by the river valleys of Rhine, Main and Lahn. On the opposite side of the Rhine, the mountains are continued by the Hunsrück...


New DNA evidence hints at Gram's participation in the killing of Detlev Karsten Rohwedder
Detlev Karsten Rohwedder
Detlev Karsten Rohwedder was a German manager and politician, as member of the Social Democratic Party. He was manager of the Treuhandanstalt....

 in 1991.


On June 27, 1993, members of the GSG 9
The GSG 9 der Bundespolizei , is the elite counter-terrorism and special operations unit of the German Federal Police.-History and name:...

 were to arrest Grams and Hogefeld at the train station in Bad Kleinen
Bad Kleinen
Bad Kleinen is a municipality in the Nordwestmecklenburg district, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is located on the north bank of the Schweriner See.-Geography:...

. During the process of the arrest, he managed to pull a gun and shoot two officers, succeeding in killing one, Michael Newrzella
Michael Newrzella
Michael Newrzella was a German police officer and member of the GSG 9, the counter-terrorism and special operations unit of the German Federal Police...

. Officers were quoted as saying they saw Grams "suddenly fall backward" off of the station platform and onto the track. Either before or after he fell, he shot himself in the head. He was taken to the Medizinische Universität zu Lübeck
University of Lübeck
Medicine has been the focal point of learning, teaching and research at the University of Lübeck. In both 2006 and 2009, the University of Lübeck remains No. 1 in medicine among all universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland according to the...

 by helicopter where he died from his wounds a few hours later.

Shortly after the operation there were allegations that Grams had not shot himself but was shot in the head from close distance by a police officer. The Staatsanwaltschaft
The Staatsanwaltschaft or public prosecutor's offices are criminal justice bodies attached to the judiciary but separate from the courts in Germany, Austria and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland...

Schwerin is the capital and second-largest city of the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The population, as of end of 2009, was 95,041.-History:...

 investigated these allegations and concluded in January 1994 that they were incorrect. Grams' parents challenged this conclusion in court, but it was upheld by five different courts, including the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 in 1999.

Interior Minister Rudolf Seiters
Rudolf Seiters
Rudolf Seiters is a German politician of the CDU party.From 1989-1991, he was Federal Minister for Special Affairs and the Head of the Office of the German Chancellery. From 1991-1993, he was the Minister of the Interior. From 1998-2002, he was the Vice President of the German Bundestag, or...

 took responsibility for the poor conducting and postprocessing of the operation and resigned in July of the year, as well as Chief Federal Prosecutor, Alexander von Stahl
Alexander von Stahl
Alexander von Stahl is a German lawyer, liberal politician and civil servant. He served as Attorney General of Germany from June 1990 until July 1993....

. Helmut Kohl
Helmut Kohl
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998...

 paid a visit to the unit, praising Newrzella and discouraged "attempts to make a martyr of his murderer."

In popular culture

  • The award-winning 2001 German documentary movie Black Box BRD
    Black Box BRD
    Black Box BRD is a 2001 German documentary film written and directed by Andres Veiel. The film deals with West German politics of the 1970s and 1980s, a period marked by turmoil and the highly publicized activities of the left-wing terrorist group known as the Red Army Faction .The film focuses on...

    retells the lives and deaths of Wolfgang Grams and Alfred Herrhausen
    Alfred Herrhausen
    Alfred Herrhausen was a German banker and Chairman of Deutsche Bank. From 1971 onwards he was a member of the bank's board of directors....

    , a German banker in whose assassination Grams is suspected of having been involved.
  • The incident has been widely criticised in German punk rock
    Punk rock
    Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

     songs such as Kopfschuss ("head shot") by WIZO
    Wizo is a punk rock band from Sindelfingen, Germany. The band was formed in 1985. Their messages run from political to humorous, and they are strongly opposed to Nazism, fascism, racism, and "all of that crap"...

    , Bad K. by Dritte Wahl
    Dritte Wahl
    Dritte Wahl is a German Punk rock Group from Rostock in Germany.Dritte Wahl first performed in 1988. Back then Holm was on the bass, but he left the band in 1991. The rest of the group were Busch´n , Gunnar and Krel...

     or Gewalt ("violence") by Slime
    Slime (band)
    Slime is a German punk rock band, founded in 1979 and disbanded in 1994. The pre-Slime band was called Screamer, and the post-Slime band is – contrary to the occasional rumors – not Emils , but Rubberslime, with the member Elf...

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